Advertisement

The Collapse of the Ivory Tower

  • Colin Campbell
Chapter

Abstract

A revolution has occurred in university life in the UK since the 1960s, one that has made it harder for sociologists to help the discipline to progress. The expansion of the undergraduate population and the introduction of fees have led to students being turned into consumers. In addition, attempts to measure the quality of research and to relate the results to funding have had a damaging effect. The consequence of these changes is that universities now act like corporations, more concerned with profit than adding to knowledge, while staff are divided into the two classes of high-flying academic entrepreneur and stressed and depressed members of the precariat. These changes have demolished what remained of the ivory tower, making it all but impossible for universities to focus on the vital function of the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.

Keywords

University expansion Students as consumers Negative consequences of the REF The academic entrepreneur Quit-lit The need for ivory towers 

Bibliography

  1. Back, L. (2016). Academic Diary: Or Why Higher Education Still Matters. London: Goldsmiths Press.Google Scholar
  2. Berg, M., & Seeber, B. K. (2017). The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  3. Burrows, R. (2010). Living with the h-Index: Metric Assemblages in the Contemporary Academy. The Sociological Review, 60(2), 355–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burrows, R. (2016). Ancient Cultures of Conceit Reloaded. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhodhPqhMO4. Accessed 23 November 2018.
  5. Camille, K., & Blackmore, P. (2018). Motivation: The Role of Prestige in Academic Life (0176). Programme No. L8. https://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2011/abstracts/0176.pdf. Accessed 10 December 2018.
  6. Cassuto, L. (2018, February 25). The Grief of the Ex-academic. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Grief-of-the-Ex-Academic/242612. Accessed 12 December 2018.
  7. Collini, S. (2018, April 24). In UK Universities There Is a Daily Erosion of Integrity. The Guardian.Google Scholar
  8. Fazackerley, A. (2018, June 12). Publish or Be Damned: University Staff Urged to Open up About Mental Health Issues. The Guardian.Google Scholar
  9. Fish, S. (2004, May 21). Why We Built the Ivory Tower. New York Times.Google Scholar
  10. Giddens, A. (1966). In Defence of Sociology: Essays, Interpretations and Rejoinders. Polity: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  11. Gill, R. (2010). Breaking the Silence: The Hidden Injuries of Neo-liberal Academia. In R. Flood & R. Gill (Eds.), Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process: Feminist Reflections (pp. 228–244). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Grove, J. (2016). The University Workplace Survey 2016: Results and Analysis. The Times Higher Education. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/university-workplace-survey-2016-results-and-analysis#survey-answer. Accessed 26 October 2018.
  13. Halsey, A. H. (1995). Decline of the Donnish Dominion: The British Academic Profession in the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Halsey, A. H. (2004). A History of Sociology in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Higgs, P. (2013, December 6). I wouldn’t Be Productive Enough for Today’s Academic System. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/06/peter-higgs-boson-academic-system. Accessed 24 November 2018.
  16. Holmwood, J. (2010). Sociology’s Misfortune: Disciplines, Interdisciplinarity and the Impact of Audit Culture. British Journal of Sociology, 61(4), 639–658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nisbet, R. (1971). The Degradation of the Academic Dogma: The University in America 1945–1970. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  18. Pang, A. S.-K. (2016). Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  19. Readings, B. (1997). The University in Ruins. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Savage, M. (2009). Against Epochalism: An Analysis of Conceptions of Change in British Sociology. Cultural Sociology, 3(2), 217–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Scott, P. (2013, November 4). Why Research Assessment Is Out of Control. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/nov/04/peter-scott-research-excellence-framework. Accessed 20 October 2018.
  22. Scott, P. (2018, May 1). Universities Are Not Border Guards—If They Ask for My Passport Again, I Will Decline. The Guardian.Google Scholar
  23. Slaughter, S. (1999). Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies, and the Entrepreneurial University. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Vostal, F. (2016). Accelerating Academia: The Changing Structure of Academic Time. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wilson, B. (1970). The Youth Culture and the Universities. London: Faber & Faber.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of YorkYorkUK

Personalised recommendations